Monday, 24 June 2019

Imported Lager returns

WW II brought an almost complete halt of beer imports to the UK, other than Guinness from the Republic of Ireland.

The main impact of the lack of imports was a disruption of Lager supplies. Prior to WW II, Guinness excepted, almost all the beer imported into the UK was continental Lager. Wartime circumstances would have made it impossible to import, whatever the UK government might have wanted. The main pre-war sources - Denmark, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Germany were all under Nazi control by the summer of 1940.

ALL kinds of green vegetables may be imported from abroad under an open general licence from now until June 15, the Food Minister, Mr. Strachey, told the Commons yesterday.

He said that he had reluctantly decided that price control of green vegetables without rationing might do more harm than good while supplies are short.

So many would disappear under the counter that working-class households would be little better off.

Supplies of potatoes, he said. were now improving rapidly and should be nearly normal bv the end of this week. Unless prices of root vegetables dropped quickly to a reasonable level, he would either arrange for imports or impose price control. Other replies by Mr. Strachey.

COCKTAILS.— Sale of low strength cocktails and inferior liquor will be banned after this month.

LAGER BEER.- Some imports" of lager beer from continental countries are to be allowed.
Daily Mirror - Tuesday 25 March 1947, page 3."
The sources of imported Lager remained much the same when the trade resumed. Though It wasn't until the early 1950s that imports from Germany resumed.

Great news that low-strength cocktails had been banned. That must have lifted everyone's spirits.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Provincial Brown Ale before WW II

It wasn’t just in London that Brown Ale was on the rise between the wars. The style was popular enough to appear in pretty much every brewery’s range. Though there was a considerable diversity in terms of strength and colour.

Rather fewer provincial examples were around the 1042º average OG of all beer. And there examples that are much weaker than London examples, some even under 1030º. In the case of Adnams, I know exactly why their Brown Ale was so weak. Like most smaller breweries, their Brown Ale was a tweaked version of their Mild. As that beer was piss weak, it followed that their Brown Ale would be, too.

One easily identifiable regional trend is in the Northeast. The two examples from there – Newcastle Brown and Vaux Double Maxim are notable for being both stronger and paler than most examples of the style. 50 and 62 are pretty low values for a Brown Ale. I’d expect a minimum of 80. Their gravities are both over 1050º which was unusual, but not totally unknown, in other parts of the country.

My guess is that all the ones stronger than Best Mild (around 1040-1043º) were their own separate brew and not based on a Mild Ale. For the simple reason that Mild didn’t usually get any stronger than that in the 1930s.

Note how common the name Nut Brown was. It has absolutely nothing to do with nuts or even with the flavour of the beer. I suspect that this Christmas carol is the source of the phrase. I've seen it in so many 19th-century collections of songs that it must have been very well known:

    The nut-brown ale, the nut-brown ale,
    Puts downe all drinke when it is stale,
    The toast, the nut-meg, and the ginger,
    Will make a sighing man a singer.
    Ale gives a buffet in the head,
    But ginger under proppes the brayne;
    When ale would strike a strong man dead,
    Then nut-megge tempers it againe,
    The nut-brown ale, the nut-brown ale,
    Puts downe all drinke when it is stale.
    "Christmas Carols, ancient & modern" by William Sandys, 1833, page lxiv.

I'm not sure of its exact date but, judging by the language and spelling, it's no later than the 17th century and possibly 16th century.

In the 19th century, the phrase “nut brown ale” was regularly used to conjure up nostalgic images of the good beer of the past or to describe beer served at feasts. It was not a specific kind of beer, simply a florid description of celebratory beer.

Provincial Brown Ale before WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1936 Birkenhead Nut Brown Ale 6 1038.6 1010.5 3.64 72.80%
1938 Eldridge Pope Dorset Brown Ale 8 1038.2 1009.5 3.72 75.13% 90
1938 Fremlin Brown Ale 7 1041.8 1012.8 3.76 69.38%
1938 Green Lutonian Nut Brown Ale 6 1028.3 1003.8 3.19 86.57%
1932 Hoskins City Brown Ale 6 1036.6 1009.7 3.49 73.50%
1932 Ind Coope Nut Brown Ale 7 1037 1008.2 3.74 77.84%
1937 Mew Langton Brown Ale 1048 1012.8 4.57 73.33%
1933 Morgans SK Brown Ale 10 1042 1012.4 3.83 70.48%
1931 Newcastle Breweries Brown Ale 1056 1014 5.46 75.00% 62
1932 Northampton Brown Ale 1038 1009.8 3.66 74.21%
1938 Read Nut Brown Ale 1030.5 1007.6 2.97 75.08% 85
1935 Samuel Smith Taddy Nut Brown 1042.1 1011.9 3.91 71.73%
1938 Simonds Brown Ale 1031.6 1008.2 3.03 74.05% 130
1934 Adnams Brown Ale 1031.5
1932 Tennant Nut Brown 1032 1008.9 2.99 72.19%
1938 Tollemache Brown Ale 8 1044.9 1008.9 4.69 80.18% 80
1938 Unwin Darker Brown 1040.8 1007 4.40 82.84% 105
1938 Vaux Double Maxim Ale 1053.2 1009.3 5.73 82.52% 50
1932 Ward Nut Brown 1035 1007.6 3.56 78.29%
Average 7.25 1039.3 1009.6 3.91 0.76 86.0
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Younger, Wm. & Co Gravity Book document WY/6/1/1/19 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Let's Brew - 1944 Adnams PA

I'm quite enjoying the 1944 theme to my hombrew posts, so why stop now? Especially when I already have so many recipes written from that year. There's a good reason for that.

It's all connected with my next book, which is about brewing in WW II. I'm sort of getting back to my original book concept, which was a history of UK brewing 1700 to 1973. Two of my most recent books, Armistice! amd Austerity!, are really chapters of that book. Which shows how overambitious the ptoject was. The completed book would have been over 2,000 pages.

But let's get back to the recipe in hand. As Adnams beers were comparatively weak in 1939, they underwent a surprisingly small change in strength during the war.

Their Bitter, PA, started the war at just 1039º and, though it had fallen by 1944, it was just by three gravity points. Bugger all, really, compared to the beers of some other breweries. In general beers brewed in fairly rural locations, such as Southwold, tended to be weaker than those brewed in large urban centres.

The biggest change in terms of the recipe is the addition of an unmalted grain. Pre-war, Adnams beers were all brewed from just malt, hops and sugar. In 1943, however, the government dictated the use of oats, in response to a bumper crop. But that only lasted one year. The next, the government decided brewers should all use a percentage of flaked barley. Which is what we see in this iteration of PA.

As usual with Adnams, I know little about the hops other than that they were all English and from the 1942 and 1943 harvests.

1944 Adnams PA
pale malt 7.25 lb 87.88%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 6.06%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.50 lb 6.06%
Fuggles 120 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1036
FG 1010
ABV 3.44
Apparent attenuation 72.22%
IBU 27
Mash at 149º F
After underlet 151º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold

Friday, 21 June 2019

A novel use for carrier pigeons

Here's another newspaper article about the shortage of beer in the middle war years.

There was much discussion during the war as to whether pubs were compelled to open during permitted hours. Due to restricted supplies of beer, many publicans didn't bother opening all the hours they could. I can see their point: why bother to open if you've nothing to sell?

The situation seemed to be unclear. The Licensing Act didn't specifically say that pubs had to open their full hours. But many llicensing magistrates considered opening those hours as a condition of their licence. Plus temperance wanker magistrates could use pubs not opening their full gours as an argument to say that there wasn't enough demand to justify the licence. Brewers were naturally worried about losing tied houses this way.

Given his comments about "refreshments", I'm pretty sure that Alderman Harvey was a teetotal twat. There were a lot of them in poistions of power. Mostly, I think, because they wanted to ruin stuff for the normal drinking public. The bastards.

You'll need to read all the way through to find out where the pigeons came in.

At the Stoke-on-Trent Watch Committee Meeting yesterday afternoon, the need for uniformity in the opening and closing of public houses was urged; bus problems were discussed; and it was reported that the Safety First campaign was being resumed in view of the increase in the number of road accidents.

The varied opening and closing times adopted by licensees of hotels and public houses in Stoke-on-Trent since the shortage of beer became noticeable, was the subject of discussion at yesterday's meeting of the City Watch Committee, when it was decided to draw the attention of the Licensing Justices to the matter. Alderman J. H. Dale, who raised the subject, said that hotels and public houses were, within the licensing hours, opening and closing at various times. Some licensees were Setting rid very quickly of all the liquid refreshment they had to offer. He asked the Chief Constable if licences were not granted on the understanding that hotels and public houses remained open throughout licensed hours; and, further, whether the Watch Committee had any powers to recommend other hours.

The Chief Constable (Mr. F. L. Bunn) replied that there was nothing to prevent licensed houses remaining open day and night, so long as the sale of intoxicants was confined to the specified hours. There might not be any offence in a licensee not opening during licensed hours, but the practice was not complying with the conditions of their licence.

Alderman Dale said that some provision ought to be made for workmen who returned home late in the evening, and, when they went for a drink, found the public house was closed or that the beer had all been sold. If beer was short they were entitled to their share, like others whose hours of work were not so difficult; and he felt that the Licensed Victuallers' Association should consider all the circumstances and come forward with some proposal that would better regulate the hours of business, and make the position uniform throughout the City.

Alderman A. C. Harvey (Chairman) said another point should also be considered. There were complaints that people could not get ordinary refreshments in the evenings. If licensed houses were refreshment houses, as was claimed for them on occasions, they should be compelled to serve non-intoxicating drinks when required during hours when the sale of intoxicating liquor was barred.

Alderman J. Barker pointed out that sometimes it happened that a public house was flooded out by strangers. Then it might be that the licensee would decide there was no more beer. "You can't blame him, under the circumstances." commented Alderman Barker.

Mr. T. W. Flint said licensees were looking after customers who had gone to them for many years, and that was a normal matter of business.

The Chief Constable, amid laughter, remarked that it was said that colliers were going out into the country with pigeons in their pockets, and when they found a place with beer they released the pigeons and sent them off to tell their pals."
Staffordshire Sentinel - Friday 09 January 1942, page 1.

I suppose a pigeon in your pocket was the 1940s equivalent of having  mobile phone with you. Though I guess a phone isn't likely to shit in your pocket.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Money tsunami

"Remember that money tsunami I mentioned, Dolores?"

"You're always saying you're going to earn money, but it never happens."

"This time it will. I'm going to relaunch the Guilt Button".

"Right. Dream on. No-one is going to pay you."

"But they've made money from my hard work."

"Time when you could have been doing something useful. Like getting rid of all those beer bottles cluttering up the floor."

"Money tsunami."

"You keep saying that, but it never happens."

"Money tsunami."

"You're getting boring."

Brewed one of my recipes commercially? Prove Dolores wrong. Click the button that looks like this:

London Brown Ale before WW II

Most Brown Ales in the capital were brewed as either 7d or 8d beers. Being bottled, these were the equivalent of 6d and 7d draught beers. And implying an OG of around 1037º and 1042º, respectively. Or about the same as Mild and Best Mild.

One exception is Whitbread’s Double Brown which, at 1054.5º, was quite a bit stronger than its rivals and in the 9d per pint class. And, in contrast to many other Brown Ales, it wasn’t a tweaked version of a Mild Ale recipe.

Another outlier is Watney’s XX Brown Ale. For a start, it’s not very brown with a colour value of just 23. That’s like a Bitter. The price is also lower, for the simple reason that it’s the only draught beer in the set. I’m not really sure why it was called a Brown Ale, as it doesn’t really seem to fit the definition of the style.

The degree of attenuation, with the exception of Lovibond and Meux, was pretty poor. And, intriguingly, poorer than for Mild Ale. This implies to me that a degree of sweetness was deliberately being left in Brown Ale. As a filtered beer it was far easier to leave unfermented material than in cask-conditioned Mild which would continue to referment.

Oddly enough, the average OG of this set, 1042º, is almost exactly the same as average OG in the UK in the 1930s.

London Brown Ale before WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1938 Barclay Perkins Brown Ale 8 1046.8 1018.9 3.60 59.62%
1938 Charrington Brown Ale 7 1036.6 1013 3.05 64.48% 115
1937 Courage Nut Brown Ale 8 1040.7
1938 Hammerton Nut Brown Ale 6.5 1039.9 1012.6 3.53 68.42%
1938 Lovibond Brown Ale 7 1042.6 1006.4 4.72 84.98% 90
1938 Mann Brown Ale 8 1041.7 1012 3.85 71.22% 82
1938 Meux Brown Ale 7 1039.3 1007.4 4.15 81.17% 100
1938 Taylor Walker Brown Ale 7 1035.1 1013.2 2.83 62.39% 90
1938 Truman Brown Ale 8 1042.4 1013.3 3.77 68.63% 110
1938 Watney Brown Ale 7 1041.1 1013.6 3.56 66.91% 90
1938 Watney XX Brown Ale 6 1043.4 1015.6 3.59 64.06% 23
1937 Wenlock Nut Brown Ale 7 1042.5 1011 4.09 74.12%
1939 Whitbread Double Brown 9 1054.5 1018 4.73 66.97% 105
Average 7.35 1042.0 1012.9 3.79 69.41% 89.44
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1944 Tetley Mild

Yet another beer from 1944 for your delectation. Even better, it's a mild. Even better that that, it's from Tetley.

The history of Tetley Mild during WW II is an odd one. Introduced early in the war to replace the three Milds that they had brewed before the war. What’s strange is that, introduced at 1032º, by 1944 the OG had risen to 1034º. An increase in gravity is the last thing I would expect to see in the later war years.

The grist is, however, clearly showing the effect of the war. Pre-war, Tetley used grits in some of their cheaper beers. By late 1941, this had been replaced by flaked rice. Which in turn was replaced by flaked oats in 1943. In 1944 this was supplemented by flaked barley, which was a universally used adjunct by the end of the war. Flaked barley continued to be a common ingredient until the early 1950s when flaked maize became easily obtainable.

The malt and adjuncts were complemented by three types of sugar: E.R.C., Barbados and G & S caramel. As I haven’t the slightest idea what E.R.C. was, I’ve substituted No. 1 invert. I’ve no idea how accurate this is.

As was usual by this point in the war, all the hops were English: Kent from the 1940 (kept in a cold store) and 1942 harvests plus Sussex from 1941. All quite old and none at all from the most recent season.

1944 Tetley Mild
pale malt 5.25 lb 69.91%
flaked oats 1.00 lb 13.32%
flaked barley 0.25 lb 3.33%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.67 lb 8.92%
brown sugar 0.25 lb 3.33%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.09 lb 1.20%
Fuggles 120 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1034
FG 1004
ABV 3.97
Apparent attenuation 88.24%
IBU 10
SRM 15.5
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale

Many, many more recipes (though not this particular one) are available in some of my recent books:

 Like Armistice!, for example.

Recipes, recipes, recipes: 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

I’m going home

I awake with a thirst. And the sight and smell of the debris of last night’s room service. I could really do with something other than tap water to drink.

Crappy American bogs. Turning my grillox into bouncing bombs, skimming over the water. Disgusting. Am I the only person who has this problem?

After drying my bollocks, I pull on my kecks and walk outside in search of a vending machine. Pulling the room door shut behind me. Only when it’s closed do I think to check my pocket for the key card. Damn. It’s still inside the room.

Nothing for it but to toddle down to reception and ask for another key card. Luckily I don’t have to queue and the bloke behind the desk isn’t weird about giving me another key. He did check me in yesterday, mind, and seems to remember me.

Relief washes over me like a stream of warm piss down the leg while showering. Then I remember that I forgot to buy a drink. Fuck. I trail back downstairs. I’m getting some exercise, if nothing else.

I’ve arranged for a late check out as my flight isn’t until after 5 PM. My arse not being in the mood for running itself around town, I watch a couple of episodes of Fixer Upper to run down the clock. While finishing off the remains of my room service meal. I hate waste.

Next thing I know, I’m in a cab gliding along the freeway, airport bound.

I check in at the kerb (which they oddly spell “curb” over here) again. As my little grey trolley disappears down the belt, I pray that it makes it home OK. Especially as it holds the kids’ whiskey. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to that. I can imagine their little heartbroken faces as Dad tells them there’ll be no whiskey.

The selection of refreshment opportunities is surprisingly poor at Atlanta’s international terminal. I’m tempted to try one of the domestic ones, but I really can’t be arsed. Just too much messing around. So it’s Jekyll Island Seafood or Belgian Beer Bar. I don’t think the Belgian place does food. And I want to eat something substantial before boarding. Jekyll Island it is, then.

I check the menu before entering. Just to make sure there’s something I fancy eating that won’t leave my children destitute.

With no room at the bar, I sit at a high table next to it.

“I’ll eat later. How much is a neat double Jim Beam?” I ask the waitress.

“I’ll have to check. Most liquors are $9 to $ 11, but you get a dollar off for a double.”

“A double Jim Bean, no ice, then, please.”

What do I want to eat? Something fairly substantial, but not too heavy. A shrimp burger sounds nice.

“Could I have the shrimp burger, please?”

“We no longer have that,” my waitress replies, “would you like something else?”

If they don’t sell it anymore why the fuck don’t they take it off the menu?

“I can recommend the fish sandwich.”

“OK, I’ll have that.” I can’t be arsed to search through the menu again. And, after all, isn’t a shrimp burger a sort of fish sandwich? “And another Jim Beam, no ice, please.”

When I’ve spent about as much as I can afford, I transfer myself to a seat by my gate. Powering up my laptop and getting stuck into some more Taskmaster. It’s an excellently mind-freeing way of whiling away time.

I bundle my way onto the flight early again, arranging all my shit at my seat. No need for that blanket. I’m naturally sweaty enough to generate my own heat.

When the trolley comes around I grab myself a wine, but I’m already getting dozy. Before I know it the land of nod is making me its king.

I awake to see that it’s already light outside. And that I’ve missed both meal services. I couldn’t give a toss about that as it means I’ve had at least four hours of proper sleep. I’ll take that over a couple of shit airline meals any day of the week.

Waiting for my bag continues to be anxious time. Will the little fucker pop out this time? I see people I recognise from the flight flicking their bags off the belt. Bastards. I’m still a bit dozy. But yes, there it is, that scruffy little anonymously grey trolley bag. Without damp patches, too! Result.

I drag my sleepy arse off to the 397 stop. Ignoring the illegal taxi touts who are still waving their self-made “Official taxi” signs.

Something’s changed when I try to change to the 15 at Haarlemmermeerstation. Where’s the 15 stop? The usual lane is blocked off, and the stop where I just got off has a GVB sign saying it’s not in use. Bugger. Where does it stop now? I can’t be arsed to look. I’ll just walk it. Only ten minutes. Though I do feel totally knacked.

Odd completing the journey’s final leg on foot.

Jekyll Island Seafood Restaurant
6000 N Terminal Pkwy,
GA 30320.
Tel: +1 404-209-0907

Monday, 17 June 2019

Back to Atlanta

I’ve had few breakfast so far. For various reasons. Mostly because I’d have to pay for one in the hotel. Or simply that I haven’t been in a hotel.

Today is an exception. The breakfast room is on the 20th floor, with panoramic views of Raleigh. Two eggs over easy, bacon, spuds and coffee. Some fried mushrooms, black pudding and tinned tomatoes would improve it. But it’ll do for now. At $8-odd, the values isn’t bad for a hotel.

Stuart is picking me up at 10:30. It’s been fun spending some time with him the last few days. His daughter was a good laugh, too.

On the way to the airport he tells me how his business has been affected by an increase in aluminium prices prompted by a rise in the import tariff.

“I can’t pass on the increase, so I’m having to eat the extra cost. It may be only a cent or two per can, but it adds up.”

I check my bag in at the kerb. A pretty handy feature of some US airports.

I grab a soft drink in a shop, then orientate myself. Where’s my gate? And where’s the closest bar to it? There’s my gate and that looks like some sort of hospitality just beyond it. Whiskey River? Now that just sounds perfect.

I can’t squeeze in at the bar. I sit at a long table flanked by barstools adjacent to it.

”No, I don’t intend eating. A double Jim Beam, no ice, please.”

My airport bar whisky choice has changed, you might have noticed. No longer Jack Daniels. Why, I’ve no idea. Like those young people, I just changed my preference randomly, just for the sake of it. Doesn’t make me feel any younger, though.

Why do they have one of those electric bucking bulls? And why are all the seat backs made of cow hide? I thought the theme was whiskey, not western?

A couple of Jim Beams later, I ask for the bill. Wow! Only $11.99 a double. Dirt cheap for an airport. I’d have had another couple if I’d known they were that cheap.

In Atlanta I wait at the carousel nervously. Will my bag appear? The experience last week is making me mistrust baggage handling. I can do without extra concerns when I travel.

A taxi takes me downtown again. It only seems like a few days since I was last here. Hang on – it is.

I remember from a previous visit that there’s an offie on Peachtree. I nip there to get the kids’ bourbon. God, they have some expensive whiskey in here. I’m glad I checked the back of the first bottle I chose. That bugger was $99.99. I don’t love the boys that much. $30, tops. I settle on Jim Beam Repeal Batch, at a far more reasonable $25.99. No point going crazy. They’ll only drink it, anyway.

I’ve arranged to see John Roberts at Max Lager’s again. It’s close to my hotel, I’m a lazy bastard. And it’s always fun chatting with John.

Remembering what happened last time, I head straight upstairs. Sure enough, John is there waiting. Who says you never learn anything new after a certain age?

Unfortunately John can’t stay long., having another appointment. After he’s gone I drop down to the bar below for a couple more drinks and some food. It’s about time I ate, having fasted since breakfast. I wolf down a steak. Dead good, it is.

Back in my room, I’m feeling peckish later in the evening. And do something I never do: order room service. Pulled pork sliders and chips. It’s the first time since day two that I’ve had more than one meal in a day.

My stomach is back to normal. Great. Just in time for me to leave. Thank you gut. You vindictive, spiteful bastard. I hate you. Just wait until we get home. Then you’ll be punished.

Whiskey River
Terminal 2, Gate D14,
Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Max Lager’s
320 Peachtree St NE,
GA 30308.
Tel: +1 404-525-4400

Sunday, 16 June 2019


I keep finding stuff that I forgot that I had. And have never looked at properly. That's the problem of going crazy snapping old documents. You end up with thousands of photographs.

The document in question is LMA/4453/D/08/010, held at the London Metropolitan Archives. It's a brewing record, but I've no idea where it's from. It's in the Whitbread archive, but I'm pretty sure it's not Whitbread. The brewhouse names aren't right.

Even worse, it seems to be miscatalogued. According to the archive's website, the LMA/4453/D/08 records are the notbooks of F.G.S. Baker.  But going deeper into the catalogue, the notebooks all have LMA/4453/D/07 number. LMA/4453/D/08/010 I can't find anywhere in the catalogue. Brilliant.

It's ll a bit of a mystery. They look like records from another London Porter brewery. But a second division one, as the batch sizes are 400-500 barrels. About half that of Whitbread's.

That's all irrelevant, really, as it's not the brewing records themselves that caught my eye, but a couple of pages at the back. Where it lists the beer in vats. Not just that. It shows the dates when the vats were filled and when they were emptied.

It shows that Porter was being vatted for betweeen 3 and 8 months. Which is surprisingly variable.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Let's Brew - 1944 Fullers BO

Continuing with my 1944 theme, here's another Fullers recipe. This time something a little stronger.

What would you do if you were a dedicated Best Mild drinker at the start of the war and were pissed off by the reduction in its strength? Switch to Burton.

By 1944, Fullers standard Burton, BO, was looking very similar to pre-war XX. Not so great if you’d been a Burton drinker, as its gravity had been reduced by around 25%. As BO was always part-gyled with XX and X, the recipes were obviously identical.

I wonder how many drinkers traded up like this? It seems that many Porter consumers switched to draught Stout after WW I. Post-war Stout being very similar in nature to pre-war Porter. You can see here how the balance between two change pre- and post-WW I:

Whitbread Porter and Stout 1914 - 1920 (barrels)
Year Porter London Stout Total
1914 123,085 13.67% 198,806 22.07% 900,636
1921 15,688 2.32% 133,563 19.77% 675,647
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/079, LMA/4453/D/01/086, LMA/4453/D/09/108 and LMA/4453/D/09/114.

Burton remained a mainstream beer, which is reflected in the batch sizes which were usually around 100 barrels. Smaller than those of X, which were 250 – 400 barrels, but around the same size of those of XX.

1944 Fullers BO
pale malt 8.25 lb 80.49%
flaked barley 1.50 lb 14.63%
glucose 0.25 lb 2.44%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.25 lb 2.44%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1044
FG 1011
ABV 4.37
Apparent attenuation 75.00%
IBU 23
SRM 19
Mash at 147º F
After underlet 150º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

Many more recipes (though not this particular one) are available in my excellent book, Let's Brew:

Friday, 14 June 2019

Around Raleigh

With nothing planned today, I have a lie in.

I eventually roll myself out of bed around 10:30, putting on the TV and cracking open an 1804 Barclay Perkins TT. It’s great to have the chance to drink some at my leisure. All a bit rushed while I was presenting. Plus I had other things to concentrate on. Like what the hell I was going to say next.

I’m still enjoying some of Mike's Porter when I get a message from Stuart: do I fancy some lunch? Hell yes. He’ll be around to pick me up in about 30 minutes. Which should give me time to polish off another bottle of Porter.

We toodle on down to Flying Saucer, which is just over the road from my hotel. Because of parking difficulties, we end up having to walk as far from the car as we would have from my hotel.

Inside it looks very much like the Flying Saucer in Houston. Which I guess is the point of pub chains. It’s not very full – more staff than punters.

“What can you recommend that’s local and isn’t full of weird shit or sludgy?” I ask Stuart, who makes a few suggestions. I plump for a Duck Rabbit Oyster Stout, which in the wacky world of modern beer passes for staid and boring.

Not having had any breakfast, I’m ready to eat. I get a Reuben sandwich. Not I imagine, that that will be of much interest to you.

I’ve only had two beers, when Stuart asks if I’d like to go somewhere else. As it’s past two, some of the other breweries will be open. Raleigh’s too small a city for there to be much of a lunchtime trade.

Raleigh Brewing is our next stop. A fair-sized production brewery with an attached tap. Thankfully, it’s air-conditioned. Outside the pavement is melting. Or at least that’s what it feels like. Maybe it’s just my feet. So hot it’s painful to be outside.

“What would you like to drink,” Stuart asks, “the Porter is fairly normal.”

“That’ll do.”

I’ve drunk a lot of Porter so far this trip. Not complaining. IPA can get so fucking boring. The only reason I ever drink it in the US is because it’s relatively novel to me. I rarely touch the stuff back home.

Stuart spots a clutch of brewers at another table and wanders over for a chat. It turns out that we’ve just missed the governor, who was here to celebrate the raising the self-distribution cap from 25,000 to 50,000 barrels.

I get chatting with Todd Ford from Noda Brewing in Charlotte. A very pleasant chap, who seems genuinely interested in the beer history I spout at him. Interested enough to buy a couple of books. Yippee! He's off to the UK soon and I recommend some good cask ale spots in London.

My next beer is a Session IPA. A perfectly respectable – and quite normal – beer. It has to be my last. Stuart has a meeting and needs to shoot off.

I’m on my own this evening, which will give me some time to wander a little in downtown Raleigh. Only after getting stuck into some more of Mike’s Porter. I’m really starting to get a taste for the 1804 TT.

When I venture outside a 6 PM, it’s still hot. Way too effing hot. How do people stand a whole summer of this? Just as well I don’t have far to walk. There’s a beer spot even closer than Flying Saucer: State of Beer. Which is a bottle shop with a bar and a few seats outside for on-premises boozing.

Despite my hotel being downtown, the street has some pretty small two-storey houses on it. This is no metropolis. It goes from downtown high-rise to suburban housing in half a block. Nothing wrong with that.  It’s nice to get to smaller places sometimes. Most of my time in the US is spent in larger cities.

I get myself a beer inside and wander out to find a seat. Oh no. It’s a sludge beer. Damn. I knew I’d slip up eventually. Differentiating sludge and non-sludge beers can be tricky using the name alone.

It doesn’t taste that bad. Sure, there’s an orange-juice thing going on, but it could be worse. At least it’s full of boozy goodness.

I’ve got a sandwich, too. Well, a wrap. I suppose that’s a sort of sandwich. With a little jar of chick peas as a side.  Little being the operative word. There can’t be more than 30 chick peas. They do taste nice, mind.

I can’t finish my sarnie, nice as it is. I wrap the remainder and stick it in my bag. I’ll finish that back in my room.

The sun has now set. It’s warm, but not crazy hot. I can cope with this.

There’s a weird mix of runners – all toned muscles and trainers – and fat bastards like me. So I sort of fit. Oh, I get it. There’s a running shop next door. All the fit-looking people must come from there. Munching salads every one of them

There’s a bus stopped at the traffic lights. Like most I’ve seen in North Carolina it holds a single passenger. Not big on public transport down this way.

The trip is winding down. Tomorrow I’m flying to Atlanta, the day after, back home. Other than the stomach problems in Asheville, it’s been pretty good.

It’s very white here. Other than the black guy making the sandwiches. But that’s just generally true of the beer scene over here. In Europe, too, I guess.

Time for another beer.

Zillicoah Maple Baltic Porter
Can’t really smell the abomination of the maple. OK, I suppose. I’m surprised how many Asheville beers are on the tap list. I wouldn’t have named my brewery Zillicoah. Too difficult to remember.

I only have the two beers. But . . . With my hotel whisky all drunk, I decide to drop by Flying Saucer for a quick double bourbon. Purely for medicinal purposes.

Back in my room, the bed soon swallows me up.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
328 W Morgan St,
NC 27601.
Tel: +1 919-821-7401

Raleigh Brewing Company
3709 Neil St,
NC 27607.
Tel: +1 919-400-9086

State of Beer
401 Hillsborough St,
NC 27603.
Tel: +1 919-546-9116